Josh Willingham is untouchable? Really?

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Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse cites a source as saying the Nationals were shopping Josh Willingham two weeks ago, but now he is “untouchable.”

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Yes. Stick with me — the same guy who the Nats wouldn’t give more than
a sniff of playing time just a month ago. Sure, Willingham has been
incredible in July, batting .329/.423/.683 with seven homers and 23
RBI, including two grand slams against the Brewers on Monday, but isn’t
this a perfect opportunity to sell high? Under team control for two
more seasons, Willingham might be the best trade chip the Nationals
currently have on their roster, especially when you compare him to an
impending free agent like Nick Johnson. Now 30 years old, Willingham
doesn’t figure to be around when (if?) the Nationals are ready to
compete.

You hate to say this, but perhaps Willingham is motivated to play well right now because he actually wants
to get traded to a contender? You know, a real light at the end of tunnel
sort of scenario. If we’ve entered a world where Josh Willingham is
untouchable, then give Jeff Francoeur a contract extension.

Report: Red Sox expected to hire Alex Cora after World Series

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox have offered a contract to Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora, though the deal won’t be officially announced until the conclusion of the World Series later this month. Cora has long been a favorite for the Sox’ managerial vacancy, and despite reports that he was being pursued by the Tigers, Mets, Phillies and Nationals, he’s expected to land in Boston after all. The team has yet to verify the report.

The deal is for three years, per the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Cora is coming off of a one-year gig with the Astros and has no prior managerial experience. More importantly, however, he stands out for his familiarity with the Red Sox’ organization, strong connection with players and analytics-driven approach.

The Red Sox are the second team to replace their manager this offseason after the Tigers snatched up Ron Gardenhire on Friday. The Mets, Phillies and Nationals are still hunting for replacements.